|A cookie swap can be a good start to a family and friends tradition.|
The holidays are a time of year when many people embrace traditions of old and continuously create new ones. During this season, a renewed interest in homemade or handcrafted gifts, crafts, and hobbies is often seen. These personal touches can help set the holiday festivities apart.
"Growing up, the holiday season was always an important and special time of year for my family. Now that my own family has grown, I've been able weave personal and homemade touches to these time-honored traditions, providing greater meaning for holidays spent with my children and grandchildren," says Lynn Doyle, host and executive producer of CN8's "It's Your Call With Lynn Doyle."
Doyle is a multi award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of television news experience, and some of her most important work has been as the mother to two daughters and grandmother to twin boys. She also enjoys her time in the comforts of her home in Pennsylvania with husband Michael. No stranger to the joys of family and homespun traditions, Doyle shares with others her secrets to a homemade holiday.
Bring the outside inside. "Borrow from the seasonal color around you and collect festive greenery from your own backyard, including pine cones, branches and berries, to be used as decorative household accents, centerpieces or garland," offers Doyle. Kids can help add some "sparkle" to these arrangements with a little bit of glue and glitter for the pine cones. This tip will also bring the natural scents of the season into your home!
Personalize with photos and movies. "As a grandmother, I am always eager to see how the kids in the family have grown from year to year, so I include my own family photos in holiday correspondence," says Doyle. For example, recent pictures can be used in personalized calendars and E-greetings for friends far away. Help your children customize their own photo show for relatives, with captions and music. "Compile old holiday home movies onto a DVD or 'Holiday Highlight Reel.' This is something that is also fun for the kids to be involved with. Everyone can laugh at how clothing and hair styles have changed through the years," adds Doyle.
Create family trees. "Embark on a new tradition. Set up and decorate a number of small 'family trees' assigning a special theme for each," offers Doyle. Children can help to decorate their own or pet-lovers can create a pint-size tree for four-legged friends. "I have added a grandson tree to my own collection this year, adorned with homemade ornaments and family photos."
Customize your wrappings. "Many people are interested in ways to protect the environment. Your efforts don't need to stop just because the holidays have arrived," says Doyle. Re-use paper grocery bags when wrapping gifts and allow the kids to color, stamp and paint their own festive designs on the paper. Adorn gifts with small items that the recipient will enjoy (e.g. tie a cookie cutter onto the box for the baker in the family, use homemade ornaments or handprint cut-outs as gift cards). Need a natural bow? Tuck a sprig of holly beneath the ribbon on your boxes.
Host a friends and family cookie swap. Cook up something special in the kitchen for loved ones, and involve extended family and friends in a holiday cookie swap. "I love sharing my secret recipes with others and receiving many more in return," says Doyle.